Archive for February, 2011

Self-Watering Seed Starter System

Self-Watering Seed Starter System

It’s a partly cloudy 34.5 degrees on this beautiful snow-covered morning.   One day after a nice 5-6 inch blanket of fresh snow the melt has begun (again). 

Even though March is just around the corner I haven’t been super-motivated to get the garden seeds started.  Besides the lengthening days, spring just doesn’t feel that near.  This all changes today!

A few weeks ago I picked up a 28-plant self watering system seed starter tray at Menards.  The tray is a Planters’ Pride Self Watering System – Cutting Pots and Water Distribution Tray.  In years past I’ve tried making my own seed starters using toilet paper roll tubes (cut in half) and reusing a variety of disposable nursery-grade high-density four-packs.  Both offered mediocre results, at best.

I’m optimistic that this new tray will work better. 

First, the containers are individual 2.5 inch plastic pots which fit into a custom molded tray.  The tray has individual spots for all of the pots.  Last year’s toilet paper rolls provided limited success.  The seeds sprouted well, but quickly became root bound due to their small size.  I think the 2.5 inch pots will provide plenty of room for good root growth.

Second, Moisture control. The new 2.5 inch plastic pots sit in a molded plastic tray with inter-connected water tracks.  this provides an easy way to water multiple containers at the same time. Each container has four 1/4 inch drainage holes in the bottom.

With the toilet paper rolls it was hard to regulate moisture content.  They quickly went from one extreme to the other.  They had a tendency to dry out and/or wick too much water into the cardboard.   This resulted in mildew problems or dried out soil. 

Third, It’s made of nice quality plastic containers which are reusable and should last for years.  The toilet paper rolls needed to be saved all year, then cut and folded individually.  The super-cheap quality nursery seed start trays I’ve reused often cracked, split or fell apart after a few handlings.

I know that once I get these seeds started the weather will break and spring will zoom right in.  As much as I love snow and winter, I will welcome spring with open arms.

If you have thoughts, comments, or suggestions… please post a comment or stop by the EnjoyTimeOutdoors.com Forum at http://enjoytimeoutdoors.com/forum .


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